Has Anyone Ever Used These ‘Farm Work’ Records from Portland?

A 1918 Oregon newspaper has an interesting article about an effort in Portland, Oregon, to enlist farm worker volunteers to help save that year’s crops, due to the labor shortage caused by WWI.

500 to Push Hoes, Oregonian newspaper article 14 July 1918

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 14 July 1918, page 14

The old newspaper article reads: “Vacation helpers are going to have a big part in saving the Oregon farm crops this year.” People from all walks of life volunteered in this area-wide effort to assist local farmers in saving that year’s crops.

As the historical newspaper article reports: “More than 500 have signed up the enlistment cards volunteering to devote their vacation time to beneficial service at going wages for the kind of work they may be assigned to do.”

Hmm…those enlistment for farm work cards would be a handy genealogical resource for family historians researching ancestors from the World War I era.

illustration of farm work enlistment cards, Oregonian newspaper article 14 July 1918

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 14 July 1918, page 14

The Oregonian’s article showed the above illustration with the caption: “Facsimile of enlistment cards actually signed by well-known citizens.”

One question on the “Enlistment for Farm Work” form was: “Would you ‘rough it’ with other help on [the] farm?”

A volunteer named A. Earl Kenworthy, a 31-year-old undertaker, answered: “You bet your boots.” He was all-in to help.

Did these Portland farm work records survive? Has anyone used them for genealogy research? Where are these old farm work records now?

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp is the Director of Genealogy Products at GenealogyBank. Tom Kemp is an internationally known librarian and archivist – he is the author of over 35 genealogy books and hundreds of articles about genealogy and family history.

He previously served as the Chair of the National Council of Library & Information Associations (Washington, DC) and as Library Director of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

An active genealogist, he has been working on his own family history for 47 years. With the rapidly growing online archives at GenealogyBank – it is a great day for genealogy!

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>